Time can be as unforgiving as punk rock rules. But while you're always able to stow those Bermudas, Vans and Poison Idea tee shirts in a dark corner of your closet, a band's musical legacy remains as a living testament, like yearbook photos and tattooed knuckles. For NOFX, this isn't a problem, since the band members are basically the same irreverent, snotty kids they were more than 20 years ago when they formed in Berkeley. With their aggressively anti-corporate stance, politicized subject matter and old-school, four-on-the-floor attack, they've cultivated a thriving fan base without significant radio play or a video on MTV. It's not terribly complex or, by this time, original music, but then neither is 12-bar Chicago blues.
If NOFX is the punk standard-bearer as the most popular, virulently anti-conservative act playing today, then Jello Biafra is the godfather. Sadly, time has not enhanced Biafra's standing like it has other punkers. Leading the Dead Kennedys, his funny, poignant commentaries such as "Holiday in Cambodia" or "Trust Your Mechanic" are legendary, but since the DKs disbanded and Biafra took to spoken word (with the occasional, increasingly spotty musical collaboration), the humor's taken a back seat. While at his best, Biafra's bits cross Noam Chomsky's policy acumen with Michael Moore's snide wit, at his worst he comes off as an egomaniacal crank. It didn't help when a California judge found two years ago that he'd cheated his former bandmates of album royalties. Alkaline Trio plays indistinct pop-punk, buoyed by an unusually dark, almost gothic lyrical undertone. Mesa's Authority Zero opens the show.